New-School Hot Toddies

The hot toddy — whiskey, hot water, lemon and honey — has an interesting history. While experts agree on where the cocktail originated, the why is debatable.

With Scottish roots, the hot toddy is believed to have been designed as either a remedy for a winter cold or a way to make Scotch whiskey more palatable for women. Or perhaps it was the vessel in which it was served — a teacup — that ladies found so appealing.

In any instance, it is a heartwarming cocktail that certainly will get you through the cold weeks of winter. Here are two ways restaurants are serving their own unique spins on the classic.

New Orleans: Borgne

New Orleans is the birthplace of the cocktail and where you’ll find the Honeysuckle Hottie. Borgne chef Brian Landry’s recipe (Dammann chamomile tea, Cathead honeysuckle vodka and a rock-candy swizzle stick) was inspired by his own ritual of drinking tea.

“I drink tea pretty regularly throughout the day,” he says, “and immediately knew the honeysuckle vodka would pair well with the Dammann chamomile without being overly floral.” Landry added a playful rock-candy swizzle stick, which, he explains, limits the drink’s sweetness. “This is the perfect afternoon cocktail on a cold day,” he notes.

Manhattan Beach, Calif.: Love & Salt
Southern California’s Love & Salt might be renamed Love & Salt & Butter, given Chef Michael Fiorelli’s affinity for making his own in-house, cultured butter. Consulting bartender Vincenzo Marianella was pretty sure the chef’s butter would be a nice addition to a hot toddy.

“It adds depth and creaminess to the cocktail, but combined with the rum it creates a dessertlike flavor,” he observes. Up your game with Love & Salt’s recipe for the Butter Me Up by combining 1 1/2 ounces of dark rum, 1/2 ounce grappa and two small “ice cream scoops” of butter in a glass. Add 4 ounces of hot tea. Bottoms up!

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